George Harrison Said The Beatles’ ‘Drive My Car’ Was Inspired by This Otis Redding Song

Paul McCartney and John Lennon “destroyed” the original version of The Beatles‘ “Drive My Car.” George Harrison recalled working with Paul on the song’s instrumentation. During an interview, George said part of the track was inspired by an Otis Redding song.

Otis Redding with a microphone
Otis Redding | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Why Paul McCartney and John Lennon destroyed the original version of The Beatles’ ‘Drive My Car’

The Beatles had quite a bit to say about “Drive My Car.” During an interview with Uncut, Paul said he and John wanted to write a song about golden rings. He thought the idea for the song was terrible. Paul said he and John “destroyed” the original song before they decided to start over. Paul felt that nixing a song can be a good idea, but the song has to be terrible.

In the same vein, John discussed “Drive My Car” in the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He said Paul primarily wrote the final version of the song. However, he helped a little with it.

George Harrison said this part of the song was inspired by Otis Redding’s ‘Respect’

According to the book George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters, the quiet Beatle discussed the track as well. “We laid the track because what Paul would do, if he’d written a song, he’d learn all the parts for Paul and then come to the studio and say (sometimes he was very difficult): ‘Do this,'” George said. “He’d never give you the opportunity to come out with something. But on ‘Drive My Car’ I just played the line, which is really like a lick off ‘Respect,’ you know, the Otis Redding version — duum-da-da-da-dada-da-dum.”

George elaborated on how he worked on “Drive My Car” with Paul. “And I played that line on the guitar and Paul laid that with me on bass,” George said. “We laid the track down like that. We played the lead part later on top of it.” George praised Paul’s guitar playing on “Drive My Car.”


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The way the world reacted to The Beatles’ ‘Drive My Car’

The Beatles didn’t release “Drive My Car” as a single so it didn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100. It appeared on the classic album Rubber Soul. While most of the songs on Rubber Soul have a folk music influence, “Drive My Car” is closer to Motown music. Rubber Soul spent 70 weeks on the Billboard 200, spending six of those weeks at No. 1. 

Rubber Soul was popular in the United Kingdom as well. According to The Official Charts Company, Rubber Soul peaked at No. 1 in the U.K., lasting on the chart for 42 weeks. While “Drive My Car” was not a hit, it remains an interesting example of The Beatles drawing influence from Redding’s songs.